Headquartered in Beijing, APUS is a leading technology company specialising in Android development and information services that makes an enhanced version of the user system and provides the fastest and most convenient access to the internet. With more than 1.4 billion global users, it is tapping into the markets outside China, such as India.
Curious Dose got in touch with Tao Li, Founder and Executive Director, APUS where he got candid about the strategy behind tapping different global markets, challenges faced, its range of products in India, core technology employed by APUS and more.
Curious Dose: How is APUS committed to actively enhance the mobile internet experience of global users and help more people embrace a better life.
Tao Li: Since its inception, APUS has been committed to eliminating the digital gap so that everyone can freely use networks and technologies, receive education and change their destiny to live a more dignified and happy life. APUS’s goal has been to empower everyone with the right to use a smartphone, as well as ensure everyone has access to use our services. With the APUS system, our users can easily connect to their social media platforms, discover new applications, as well as search and access information online.
CD: Tell us about APUS System and how is it providing fast and convenient access to the Internet, especially to Android users?
TL: APUS is the shorthand for A Perfect User System. We have built an APUS System based on the 5 big modules (including system management, interactive interface management, application management, information and content management, social and account management), which are necessary for users using Android smartphones. It provides Android smartphone users with mobile Internet information portal services and users demands on smartphones can be satisfied through the ‘All-in-One’ solution.
CD: Where do you see the future of Android in the coming years in India?
TL: Over a billion mobile users make the Indian market which is steadily expanding into Tier 2 and 3 cities. Major phone manufacturers and developers would view this as a natural expansion strategy. For this purpose, we are also developing various systems and software that focus on enriching the Android system to meet users’ demands.
CD: How have you been able to tap the markets outside China? What is your strategy for doing exceedingly well in the Indian market?
TL: About 50% of APUS’s 1.2 billion users are in Asia-Pacific, South Asia and Southeast Asia. APUS also enjoys a good market share in Europe (including Russia), North America, South America, and Africa. As for our India strategy, the nation’s success lies in the deep-rooted philosophy of embracing local cultures and understanding the local social, political and economic environment of the regions we enter. Even within India, we have come to understand the diversity of religions, laws, policies and politics. This has prompted us to focused on localisation, set up a Research and Development centre in India, and work with the local media that supports homegrown internet companies.
CD: What is your roadmap for the India market for this year?
TL: India is an important market for us, and we shall continue to expand our footprint in the country. We will also focus on Indian localisation to build an ecosystem for local users and continue to strengthen our understanding of India’s unique politics, culture, religion and economy. In the process, APUS is not only developing products, technology and a business model for only India but is also promoting local Internet development in other countries by providing advanced technology and capital. We have set up a Research and Development centre in India to empower the immense computer talent the country has and leverage it to provide better services to local users through their own talent and creativity.
CD: What are some of the challenges faced by you?
TL: Initially, the biggest challenge lay in localisation. Internet enterprises need to factor in the process of localisation, that would help them blend in with local politics, policies, laws, culture and religions of a place. Therefore, as a Chinese company which has spread out to the overseas market, we had to be well attuned to local cultures and integrate ourselves in a harmonious manner. Even as APUS continues to foray into other world markets, the strategy of localised operations is something that would be replicated across geographies.
CD: How is APUS employing technologies such as cloud, big data and AI? Please explain with use cases.
TL: AI technology and big data are embedded in many APUS products, in which we provide customisation for users through such technologies. For example, the APUS Browser helps us study data to understand user preferences and then recommend the information and services as per user needs. We also use AI technology to obtain user profile information in different regions to be sensitive towards cultural, social and religious diversity. We have also developed an AI cutout application with selfie function, the CUTCUT app which has AI technology embedded in it. APUS Cloud Federation, based on global architecture, was launched to achieve seamless switching and smooth expansion among APUS, Amazon AWS and Google cloud platform. It can truly be called the real ‘all-connected cloud’ in the mobile internet era.
CD: What are the key focus areas in terms of technology for APUS in the coming year?
TL: The construction of big data, cloud services and AI are the next development focus areas for APUS. At present, APUS has built Data Storage and Computing Centers around the world. The Data Storage Center in Southeast Asia and South Asia is located in Singapore to serve users in this region. We also have a Data Storage Center in North America and we are in the process of constructing our European Data Center and APUS Cloud to serve users in Europe. In order to meet users’ needs more efficiently and safely, we will serve them across different geographies through nodes of various APUS Clouds in the future.
CD: Please tell us about your partnership with companies such as Hotstar and InMobi. How is it helping your India strategy?
TL: This initiative was undertaken when after four years of app development in India, APUS realised that the operating system and related tools could not directly meet all the requests from users. Users demand content and service-related apps, such as pictures, video, games and e-commerce, and we hence shifted the strategy from pure growth of user acquisition to ’platform and ecosystem’. For instance, APUS launched a browser ’Vidmax’ in India in early 2019. It enables the user to explore, view, search and download videos through in-app functions of the ’video browser’. Users enjoy streaming video content from the browser’s homepage, with the content being supported by content partners such as Hotstar.
CD: With Android users showing more interest in Android devices, what is your perspective on how the acceptability of mobile launchers is going up?
TL: The future of mobile phone launchers is customisation, which means users can enjoy the perfect mobile internet experience. The status quo of internet development has three stages: PC internet era, the mobile internet era, and big data and AI internet era. That is why when providing access to the internet for all users, APUS System leverages big data and artificial intelligence. We use AI technology to obtain accurate user profile using big data solutions. These profiles provide an insight into the kind of news, products, videos and games users prefer. With the increasing popularity of Android phones, launcher products catering to users’ varied preferences, would need extraordinary customised services.
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